Community Matters

‘nearest and dearest’ – P&G partners with the BOA and the BPA

Nathan Homer, Olympic Projects Director, P&G UK and Ireland

On Wednesday 5th October, we announced our partnership with the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association to create the ‘nearest and dearest’ programme to support the friends and families of GB athletes. We also presented the athletes with a gift from P&G: tickets for every GB Olympian and Paralympian to pass on to their nearest and dearest to see them compete in their first round at London 2012.

The ‘nearest and dearest’ programme, a first of its kind in Olympic history, is specifically designed to support the friends and families of Team GB and ParalympicsGB in the run up to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mums and families dedicate a huge amount of time and emotion to the support of athletes, and our campaign is a perfect way to say thank you to them and support them in their efforts. It’s a natural extension of our decade long partnership with the International Olympic Committee and our commitment to be the ‘Proud sponsor of Mums.’

We’ve been in the business of helping mums for generations and we want to use our role and our voice as an Olympic partner to celebrate, to recognise and to reward the contributions that mums make in all our lives. They’re so often the unsung heroes, so often the inspiration behind great success, and we want to tell their story.

When we started discussions with the BOA and BPA about what we could do to help and make a difference, this project stood out for us. Both the BOA and the BPA have already been working hard to ensure our athletes are the best prepared they can be for London 2012. And one of the areas they identified as most important, which may be a surprise to some, is the role of family and friends during the Games.

We know from previous Games that athletes get a real psychological boost from having family support on the ground when they compete, especially home support. Having friends and family close can, however, be a distraction too. The ‘nearest and dearest’ programme is designed to allow the athletes to focus on their performance by both harnessing the positives of family support and removing any unnecessary distractions or worries. 86% of more than 350 retired Olympians and Paralympians we asked said they would have benefitted from a programme like this when they were competing.

Since the launch, we’ve been inviting the nearest and dearest of athletes to roadshows up and down the country to talk about their role in Team GB and ParalympicsGB, offering guidance on how to deal with things like media pressure as well as giving them a chance to meet other families and share common experiences.

We’re also hosting a dedicated online site for families to access information and link up with other nearest and dearest members. Then, when we reach Games time, we’ll be hosting a special nearest and dearest area within the Team GB and ParalympicsGB home, providing families with an area to relax and also a useful meeting point with their son or daughter.

We’ve heard a number of Team GB athletes talk about concerns for their parents and families getting to The Games and getting tickets to see them compete, so we’ve taken care of that as well. On top of the roadshows and the zone in the GB house, we’ve guaranteed every family will get to see their son or daughter compete by providing tickets to their first event, as a gift from P&G.

This is our small way of saying thank you for everything they’ve done. It’s going to be a special time for the whole family and there’s going to be some unforgettable moments. We think it’s important that those who matter most to our athletes be there to enjoy it.

We’re so excited about what we’re able to do for the Mums and families of our great athletes, to help them to be the best supporters they can be and to enjoy the experience. They’ve done so much for their children, sacrificed so much for them, and we want to tell that story and bring it to the public. It’s an everyday story that’s familiar to so many and truly resonates; the story of a mum’s contribution to raising a good kid, so often overlooked yet so compelling.

We’re going to be telling this story - their stories - right through the next year.

Everyone at P&G is delighted to be part of this programme and play our own small part in the success of Team GB and ParalympicsGB in 2012.

You can find out more about our ‘Proud sponsor of Mums’ campaign through Twitter, our website or via the P&G corporate press office.

Nathan Homer
Olympic Projects Director, P&G UK and Ireland

‘nearest and dearest’ partners

‘Our focus for next year is to make certain every member of Team GB has the resources and support they need to reach their full potential on the fields of play at London 2012, so we’ve looked at all aspects that can impact that, including the role of the ‘nearest and dearest’. All our research and discussions with athletes shows that strong, focussed support, not just at the events but all the way through the build-up to next summer, will help our athletes perform at an even higher standard.’

Dave Reddin, Head of Performance Services, Team GB

‘nearest and dearest’ partners

‘One of the biggest areas of concerns for athletes at Games time is around family and friends. When do I get to see them? How can I sort tickets for them? We want athletes to be focussed on their performance rather than distracted by worrying about their family. Having the P&G supporting the ‘nearest and dearest’ programme will take the pressure off the athletes, allowing them to concentrate on The Games and providing a framework for the family to support their athlete in the most productive way.’

Penny Briscoe, ParalympicsGB, Performance Director

‘nearest and dearest’ programme

  • Tickets for each athlete to give to their nearest and dearest to see them compete in their first event at London 2012
  • Nearest and Dearest regional roadshows in 14 different venues across the UK
  • An online site for families to access information and connect with other nearest and dearest members
  • A dedicated nearest and dearest area within the Team GB and ParalympicsGB home

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